Snow covered the sidewalks of Topsail Road Thursday, near the area where two walkers were hit by a pickup truck. ((CBC))

The mayor of St. John's is explaining why the sidewalks weren't plowed in the area where two women were critically injured by a pickup truck Wednesday night.

Police said the women, ages 22 and 24, had sustained life-threatening injuries when they were struck on a busy part of Topsail Road, near the Village Mall.

One of them was carried for about a block before the truck went to collide with three other vehicles, police said.

Leo Jerome Power of North Harbour, St. Mary's Bay, appeared in provincial court Thursday on a string of charges, including two counts of impaired driving and six counts of failing to remain at the scene of an accident.

Mayor Dennis O'Keefe said that section of Topsail Road is considered a highly-travelled area, which means it is targeted for clearing faster than other locations.

However, he said pedestrians cannot expect even those areas to be cleared 24 hours after a heavy snowfall, such as the one that fell on Tuesday night.

"Along Topsail Road, following maybe a 30-centimetre snowfall, usually the sidewalks would be done, you know, within a day or two, or three at the most," said O'Keefe.

The two women were walking on the road with their backs to the traffic.

Police said the women could not use the sidewalk because snow was piled up on it.

Power is scheduled to appear in court Friday for a bail hearing.